WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. watchdog on Monday to support the protest Jeff Bezos’s space company, challenged the Pentagon’s military space launch procurement strategy, with the support of Amazon, billionaire in the resolution of any disputes with a large procurement programs.
FILE PHOTO: Founder, Chairman, chief executive officer and chairman of Amazon, Jeff Bezos speaks during an event organised by the Blue Origin space exploration plans in Washington, d.c., USA, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) sustained, in part, a bid protest, Blue Origin pointed out, the Air Force’s decision to pick only two out of the four competing rocket companies in order to launch the country to the next in the line-up of the defense satellites over the next five years was “flawed”.
Bezos’ Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN.D) also challenged the Pentagon’s recent decision to award a prize of a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.Oh, because the politics will be spoiled with a fair contracting process.
Blue Origin, founded by Bezos in 2000, it registered its protest in August, claiming that the Air Force program, “contains a number of errors from the various providers, the intelligent use of the preparation of their proposals,” and “the family, emerging competition due to the blocking of the non-selected service providers for over 5 years.”
The total value of the contract for the new program, named ” the Launching of the public Procurement contracts for Service provision (LSP), Phase 2, is unknown, but is estimated to be worth billions of dollars, and the allocation of the Pentagon for the next 34 starts on defense satellites, from 2022 to 2027, with two companies.
The GAO said on Monday that the air force’s basis for the award is in conflict with applicable public procurement law and regulation, and it is recommended that the agency change the rules of the application.
If the Air Force does not agree with the GAO’s recommendation that it would be the first time that the agency has, therefore, starting in 2015, setting the stage for the U.S. Congress to take action. Of the almost 2,000 protesting statements by the GAO, since 2015, only one agency has formally declined to implement the GAO’s recommendations.
The air force has stated that it “does not intend to revise the terms and conditions of the LSP request, in this protest,” believing that the current approach is the best for the national security and open competition.
The conference in 2014, to move, to wean the US off of the dependence of the missiles with the Russian RD-180 engine for military launches before 2022 due to the introduction of the air force, LSP, who is expected to pick the two winners at the end of the year 2020.
The United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Boeing Co’s (BA.(N) and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) the Atlas 5 rocket uses the RD-180, has long been dominated by the military to launch on the market, lofting up the bulk of the US military satellites into space, ever since its inception in 2006.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX sued the government in 2014 to have a multi-billion-dollar-ULA deal is with the air force for 36 launches. SpaceX dropped its lawsuit after the Air Force has agreed to open up for competition.
Northrop Grumman Corp. (A). (The NOC.(N), SpaceX and the ULA are presented to a rocket to put proposals to the air force, which is expected to make a final decision by the end of 2020.
Report by Joey Roulette; Editing by Christopher Cushing